Monday, January 27, 2014

The failure that is Nouri al-Maliki

Martin Dokoupil (Reuters) reports, "Iraq's state finances are increasingly vulnerable to a drop in oil prices and the government could have difficulty financing this year's budget plan, an International Monetary Fund official said on Monday."

There is one member of the current Iraqi government who has repeatedly warned of just that, who has called for diversification of the economy, who has advocated that Iraq spend serious money building up the farm sector, who . . .  Do you know who that is?

Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi.

He's not in Iraq now.  His home was circled by military tanks in December 2011.  He headed to the KRG.  The next day, Nouri issued an arrest warrant for him.  Tareq's now in Turkey.  There was a kanagroo court that 'heard' his case -- refused to allow Jalal Talabani -- the president of Iraq -- to testify, but 'heard' his case and pronounced him guilty.  They've since sentenced him to death . . . five times.

Tareq remains in Turkey at present.

A change may be coming.  As we noted in Friday's snapshot, INTERPOL has dropped their 'Red Notice' on Tareq.

Iraq Times reports INTERPOL did that due to Nouri's government's inability to provide supporting documents and that, ahead of expected April 30th parliamentary elections, Nouri is working out a deal for Tareq to return to Iraq with all charges against him dropped.

How do you drop charges after a conviction?  Well how do you put someone on trial when they have legal immunity?  Tareq had  and still has legal immunity.  He's never been stripped of it.  Which means that the trial against him was illegal.  He also remains a Vice President of Iraq.

MP Ahmed al-Alwani has immunity as well.  But that didn't stop Nouri from launching a dawn raid on his home December 28th -- a raid that left six people dead, including al-Alwani's brother.  World Bulletin reports that the court has ceased testimony in the trial today and plans to resume in March.  Naturally, al-Alwani is Sunni, a supporter of the protests against Nouri (which have lasted over a year now) and a member of Iraqiya which beat Nouri's State of Law in the 2010 elections.  But no one's ever supposed to point these facts out, they're just supposed to treat a raid -- at dawn -- on the home of a sitting Member of Parliament as a normal occurrence.

By the way, World Bulletin also offers "A very brief history of the U.S. use of chemical weapons."

Reuters' Dokoupil notes oil currently makes up 93% of Iraq's income.  That's a dependency that should have been avoided.  But Tareq al-Ashemi's reported calls to diversify -- like his calls for Nouri to end the secret prisons and torture -- was ignored by Nouri.

He's not ignored the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, he's instead repeatedly antagonized them.  The three provinces in northern Iraq may move to autonomous.  Rudaw reports:

Within five years the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq will have declared independence, according to a senior energy advisor at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)."Kurdistan is going to be rid of its status as a region within Iraq,” said Ali Balu,former head of Iraqi parliament's oil and gas committee. “A plan is underway for Kurdistan to be an independent state in the near future," he said.
Balu believes that plans and preparations are being made on the international stage aimed at declaring independence, which he says will be driven by Kurdistan’s geostrategic position and rich energy reserves.
He said that Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani’s participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos paves the way for international recognition of Kurdistan as an independent state.

Dropping back to the January 16th snapshot:

On the topic of visits, Missy Ryan (Reuters) reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is scheduled to visit DC next week.   Amjad Salah (Alsumaria) reports KRG President Massoud Barazani is off to Europe where he will participate in the World Economic Forum (Davos, Switzerland, January 22-25th).  He's leading a delegation from Erbil -- a KRG delegation.  Bad news for Nouri, he's not apparently going to be heading a delegation out of Baghdad.  Well, it's a World Economic Forum and Nouri's a joke on the international stage, better he stay home in his kennel and let Barzani represent Iraq.

That was a prestige moment.  Nouri wasn't able to attend.  He was too busy terrorizing Anbar Province.  No doubt they were relieved in Davos to see Barzani, rumors swirl that Nouri blows his nose on the drapes.

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